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  1. #1
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    What did Jesus really say?

    The Bible Wheel gives tremendous insight into the meaning and purpose of the differences between the Synoptic Gospels. There are profound correlations between the elements unique to each Gospel and the meaning of the corresponding Hebrew letter. For example, Matthew is marked by an strong emphasis on the idea of Righteousness defined by the Tzaddi KeyWord Tzedaqah and Luke is marked by a strong emphasis on the idea mercy defined by the Resh KeyWord Racham. These differences are particularly prominent when we compare parallel passages (see Luke: The Tender Mercies of the Great Physician):



    I have found many parallels like these that follow the pattern of the Hebrew alphabet with great clarity. It gives strong evidence for the divine inspiration of Scripture. But this same evidence presents a huge challenge about how God intends for us to understand the Scripture that He inspired. We are now confronted with a question of primary significance:

    What did Jesus really say?

    I can not think of any good solution. It seems very unlikely that Jesus actually said both things at different times since the passages seem to be describing a single event. But what other choice is there? How does God intend for us to understand these differences?

    It's almost as if the Bible is a divine historical novel - it is mixed with lots of real history, but the detailed synoptic narratives of what Christ actually did and said can not be made to fit any literal historical sequence.

    One possibility is that the words of Christ had a kind of "divine fullness" that was captured in part by each of the different Gospel writers. But still, we don't know what He actually said - only what it meant to those who heard him.

    Questions like this have vexed believers since the beginning because they felt that they had "nothing" if not a literal historical record of Christ in the Gospels. The revelation of the Bible Wheel helps free us from this limitation. We know that the Bible is of God, so now we can receive it as such and admit that the pieces do need to fit into human categories like "literal historical narrative" in order to be true and inspired by God.

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  2. #2
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    I think it is more likely an actual literal discussion with Jesus they are recording and that Matthew and Mark have each placed emphasis at different points. Kindness and justice are linked in terms of the wicked (ie see Nehemiah 9:30-33) since justice really calls for the wicked to be destroyed, however kindness delays the justice in mercy, hoping that the wicked will change. For a person wanting to identify with God they'd need to try be both just and kind -> merciful. I think the Gospels in a lot of ways shows us why we need Christian fellowship in that together we have a fuller understanding since our own characters predispose us to favour certain bents over others at first glance.
    He has told you, O man,what is good;
    And what does the Lord require of you
    But to do justice, to love kindness,
    And to walk humbly with your God

    Micah 6:8

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
    I think it is more likely an actual literal discussion with Jesus they are recording and that Matthew and Mark have each placed emphasis at different points. Kindness and justice are linked in terms of the wicked (ie see Nehemiah 9:30-33) since justice really calls for the wicked to be destroyed, however kindness delays the justice in mercy, hoping that the wicked will change. For a person wanting to identify with God they'd need to try be both just and kind -> merciful. I think the Gospels in a lot of ways shows us why we need Christian fellowship in that together we have a fuller understanding since our own characters predispose us to favour certain bents over others at first glance.
    Hi Abigail!



    It's been a long time, good to hear from you! How have you been?

    Thanks for your explanation. It makes perfect sense in as far as it goes - indeed, a person should exhibit both mercy and justice, and in the fullness of Scripture we find Christ teaching both. But I still do not know what Jesus actually said on that one occasion. When you suggest that Matthew and Luke "placed emphasis at different points" it sounds like you are suggesting that Jesus really said both "be perfect" and "be kind" in the same sentence, something like this:
    Be ye therefore perfect and merciful, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect and merciful.
    So now we find ourselves forced to attempt a speculative reconstruction of what Jesus really said - and when we do this the first thing we admit is that we don't really know what Jesus really said. This problem is greatly exacerbated when we try to extend it to other parallel passages. The attempted reconstructions quickly become unbelievable. The Gospels often differ in the specific words and when similar words are used they are often presented in different orders and the records of the same events are presented in different orders too. Therefore, if we know anything, we know that we do not have a literal historical record of what Jesus actually said and did. Furthermore, we know that this is a divine fact that the Author of Scripture intended for us to understand and accept since He presented it so plainly in His Holy Scripture.

    Folks have struggled for centuries to "resolve" the "apparent" contradictions in Scripture so they could assert that the Bible is a literal historical record of the words and deeds of Jesus. But in doing this, they have denied the very essence of their assertion that the Bible was inspired by God. If we accept the Bible as the truly inspired Word of God, then we must receive it as God intended and conclude that it does not present a completely literal historical account of the words and deeds of Jesus. It does not even tell us what He really said!

    This is highest view of Scripture - it is a view that does not attempt to force the Bible to fit our human concepts of what the "Word of God" should be, but rather accepts what God has revealed as it is. To repeat what I said in the OP: Questions like this have vexed believers since the beginning because they felt that they had "nothing" if not a literal historical record of Christ in the Gospels. The revelation of the Bible Wheel helps free us from this limitation. We know that the Bible is of God, so now we can receive it as such and admit that the pieces do need to fit into human categories like "literal historical narrative" in order to be true and inspired by God.

    I would be very interested to dig deeper with you into these questions and their implications.

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  4. #4
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    While this may not be an answer for every case, what I see in comparing Matthew with Luke, for example, is Matthew more than likely writing what Jesus actually said, while Luke records what Jesus meant, in those cases where a non Jewish audience might not understand.

    One example is Matthew recording Jesus as saying "when you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place..." The Jew would be familiar with this term. However, Luke knows that his readers most likely will not understand that phrase, so he interprets it under divine inspiration as "when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies."

    I believe the same can be said for Jesus statement "therefore, you must be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Could it be that the Jews would understand what this actually meant, while maybe a non Jew might not, which explains why Luke again decides to explain what is meant by perfect when he said "therefore, you must be merciful, even as your Father in heaven in merciful."

    Again, another example is Matthew use of Kingdom of heaven, something a Jew would understand. But then Luke explains what Jesus meant by interpreting it as Kingdom of God.

    Again, this doesn't explain every difference, but I tend to see Matthew's account as recording what is actually said, while Luke, for example, tending to be more explanatory for the benefit of the non Jewish reader.

    Ron

  5. #5
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    Another question that might help to answer the question of "what did Jesus really say?" is:

    At Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out, and Peter began to preach the Word of God, what did all those devout Jews from every nation under heaven, speaking many different dialects, actually hear Peter say?

    I'm sure if each one were to write down their account, we would have as many different accounts as their were people.


    Rose
    Never trust anything you are afraid to question ~

    To know oneself is to know the universe...


    Live Fully...Love Extravagantly...For the sake of Goodness

    Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matt.10:16

    Come let us reason together...Isa.1:18
    ********************************
    My new Blog site: God and Butterfly

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryfl View Post
    While this may not be an answer for every case, what I see in comparing Matthew with Luke, for example, is Matthew more than likely writing what Jesus actually said, while Luke records what Jesus meant, in those cases where a non Jewish audience might not understand.

    One example is Matthew recording Jesus as saying "when you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place..." The Jew would be familiar with this term. However, Luke knows that his readers most likely will not understand that phrase, so he interprets it under divine inspiration as "when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies."

    I believe the same can be said for Jesus statement "therefore, you must be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Could it be that the Jews would understand what this actually meant, while maybe a non Jew might not, which explains why Luke again decides to explain what is meant by perfect when he said "therefore, you must be merciful, even as your Father in heaven in merciful."

    Again, another example is Matthew use of Kingdom of heaven, something a Jew would understand. But then Luke explains what Jesus meant by interpreting it as Kingdom of God.

    Again, this doesn't explain every difference, but I tend to see Matthew's account as recording what is actually said, while Luke, for example, tending to be more explanatory for the benefit of the non Jewish reader.

    Ron
    Hi Ron,

    Those are fine explanations, but they don't answer the question of what Jesus really said so we are left with what seems to be an incontrovertible conclusion - God did not intend for us to interpret the Bible as a literal historical record of what Jesus really said and did.

    So here is the Big Question - assuming that the Bible really is the inspired Word of God and that we accept it as given by its infinitely intelligent Author, what does it tell us about how that Author intended it to be understood?

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose View Post
    Another question that might help to answer the question of "what did Jesus really say?" is:

    At Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out, and Peter began to preach the Word of God, what did all those devout Jews from every nation under heaven, speaking many different dialects, actually hear Peter say?

    I'm sure if each one were to write down their account, we would have as many different accounts as their were people.


    Rose
    That suggests an interesting possible solution. Perhaps when Jesus was teaching He spoke with a "divine fullness" and each listener heard His words "in their own language" like at Pentecost. By "in their own language" I mean that Matthew, who was concerned with Righteousness, heard Christ's Word in its aspect of Righteousness, and Luke heard it in its aspect of Mercy. But the Word itself had a fullness that encompassed both.

    Whether this happened historically or not does not really matter. The Holy Spirit "brought to mind" the Words of Jesus as He wanted them recorded by each Evangelist.

    We must remember that the "newspaper" style reporting his a modern phenomenon. Is there any reason to think that God's Word is limited in this way?

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Hi Ron,

    Those are fine explanations, but they don't answer the question of what Jesus really said so we are left with what seems to be an incontrovertible conclusion - God did not intend for us to interpret the Bible as a literal historical record of what Jesus really said and did.

    So here is the Big Question - assuming that the Bible really is the inspired Word of God and that we accept it as given by its infinitely intelligent Author, what does it tell us about how that Author intended it to be understood?

    Richard
    If the Bible is a book for all time (through the genius of its Author), then at all times it must be understood through the eyes of our understanding at that time.


    Rose
    Never trust anything you are afraid to question ~

    To know oneself is to know the universe...


    Live Fully...Love Extravagantly...For the sake of Goodness

    Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matt.10:16

    Come let us reason together...Isa.1:18
    ********************************
    My new Blog site: God and Butterfly

  9. #9
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    Could it be as simple as adding values of the Tzaddi and the Resh?
    By doing so, you have:
    38
    The LORD hath made known his salvation (913): his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God (888).

    19 x 19..the physical manifestation of His Glory

  10. #10
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    oops...make that 19 PLUS 19:-)

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